I said it in July and I will say it again. The new Slayer just plain kicks ass. While what I heard in July was almost the final mix (or perhaps it was) it included 2 additional songs, so when I bought the CD recently I was still pretty much in the dark.
One of the most common things I have heard from folks is "Dude the new Slayer sucks, it sounds just like everything else they ever do" Umm shyeah. That is somewhat the point to me. I do prefer when a band keeps its sound. That is also primarily the reason I could not wait to get my chubby little fingers on the CD. This album returns to the darker side of things. Songs like "Snuff" which is about those lovely and illegal snuff films and "Americon" which tackles the current state of affairs in the Middle East, Slayer has returned to their tried and true history.
One thing that stands out is the fact that Jeff Hanneman is writing again. For the past several albums, the vast majority of writing belongs to Kerry King, but this time Jeff is back. The best example of why I missed Jeff writing is "Beauty Through Order". This song is truly class Slayer. From the tempo, to the solos and lyrics, this is the Slayer template.
Another one of my favorites is "Not Of This God" Its the classic questing of Christianity that Kerry is known for. The change from fast and furious thrash to the rhythmic middle groove and back to the speed again is what gets me. This is the ultimate pit song. Mental insanity with a small breather in the middle. Perfect for their aging fans in the pit.
The 20 minute short film by Mark Brooke would best be described as a Gein-esque comic book set to songs from the new Slayer Album. Initially it reminded me of an older video game/comic book type set up and that lost me in the beginning, but as you watch you will see things tie together nicely in the end. My hopes is that in any videos slayer makes, perhaps they can make this a live action theme. Definately a story entertaining enough to replicate.
Personally a true test has been passed. I have managed to clean the snake cages in record time with this album cranked. The Tarantulas like it as well, becoming excessively active. Always a good sign to me for my heavier music.